Could not switch you to the new Blogger
Thanks for your interest in the new Blogger in beta! For now, we are only switching a limited number of users to this new version. We can’t switch your account at this time, but hope to be able to do so soon. Please check back through your dashboard for when you’ll be able to try switching again.
Still, I was able to create a new blog on the Beta account. Looking for changes, it seems Google merged elements from Google Page Creator, which allows WYSIWYG editing, into the Blogger template creation dialog. Unfortunately you can’t move around all elements (like the main content area).
Take a look at the video [WMV].
But Google has more changes in store, they say in their Blogger help:
Google says there’s “much more to come,” but they don’t mention speed improvements. When I left the Blogger platform in early 2005, I left because of recurring downtimes and lags. WYSIWYG is nice, but above everything, blogging should be quick & easy.
[Thanks John at Freshblog.]
Update: As Steve Rubel notes, if you turn a blog to a private one, the feed itself will still be public (take a look at my “private” blog and its feed). Now, while the feed URL is very cryptic and serves as quasi password, it’s not excluded from search engines via the robots.txt file... so it might be possible the Atom feed is now indexed via e.g. the Google Toolbar (which is known to get pages into the Google index even when those pages are unlinked).
Google’s Jason Goldman comments on Steve’s blog, saying “The fact that the feeds are exposed is unintended and will be corrected.”
(On a side-note, the new feed URLs are on the Beta subdomain... a bad design choice as subscriptions need to be updated when the Beta period ends for Blogger. Even if Google switches to permanent server-side redirects later on, it’s not guaranteed that every feed reader will understand this.)
>> More posts